Isaiah 44

* Here are promises of the influences of the Holy Spirit. (1-8)

An exposure of the folly of idolatry. (9-20) Also the

deliverance of God's people. (21-28)

1-8 Israel is here called Jeshurun, which means "the upright

one." Such only are Israelites indeed, in whom is no guile.

Those that serve God he will own. He will help them over

difficulties, and in their services. Water is the emblem of the

Holy Spirit; as water refreshes, cleanses, and makes the earth

fruitful, so do his influences the soul. This gift of the Holy

Ghost is the great blessing, the plentiful pouring out of which

God kept for the latter days. Where God gives his Spirit, he

will give all other blessings. Hereby shall be a great increase

of the church; thus it shall be spread to distant places. Was

there any other Rock, or Protector, that could defend them? None

besides could foretell these things to come, of which God by his

prophets gave notice. All was set in order in the Divine

predictions, as well as in the Divine purposes. Could any other

have done so? Who can compare with Israel's Redeemer and King?
9-20 Image-making is described, to expose the folly of

idolaters. Though a man had used part of a log for fuel, he fell

down before an image made of the remainder, praying it to

deliver him. Man greatly dishonours God, when he represents him

after the image of man. Satan blinds the eyes of unbelievers,

causing absurd reasonings in matters of religion. Whether men

seek happiness in worldly things, or run into unbelief,

superstition, or any false system, they feed on ashes. A heart

deceived by pride, love of sin, and departure from God, turns

men aside from his holy truth and worship. While the affections

are depraved, a man holds fast the lie as his best treasure. Are

our hearts set upon the wealth of the world and its pleasures?

They will certainly prove a lie. If we trust to outward

professions and doings, as if those would save us, we deceive

ourselves. Self-suspicion is the first step towards

self-deliverance. He that would deliver his soul, must question

his conscience, Is there not a lie in my right hand?
21-28 Return unto me. It is the great concern of those who have

backslidden from God, like the Jews of old, to hasten their

return to him. The work of redemption wrought for us by Christ,

encourages to hope for all blessings from him. Our

transgressions and our sins are as a thick cloud between heaven

and earth: sins separate between us and God; they threaten a

storm of wrath. When God pardons sin, he blots out, he dispels

this cloud, this thick cloud, so that the way to heaven is open

again. The cloud is scattered by the Sun of righteousness; it is

quite gone. The comforts that flow into the soul when sin is

pardoned, are like clear shining after clouds and rain. Let not

Israel be discouraged; nothing is too hard for God: having made

all, he can make what use he pleases of any. Those that learn to

know Christ, see all knowledge to be foolishness, in comparison

with the knowledge of him. And his enemies will find their

counsels turned into foolishness, and themselves taken in their

craftiness. The exact fulfilling the prophecies of Scripture

confirms the truth of the whole, and proves its Divine origin.

The particular favours God designed for his people in captivity,

were foretold here, long before they went into captivity. Very

great difficulties would be in the way of their deliverance; but

it is promised that by Divine power they should all be removed.

God knew who should be the Deliverer of his people; and let his

church know it, that when they heard such a name talked of, they

might know their redemption drew nigh. It is the greatest honour

of the greatest men, to be employed as instruments of the Divine

favour to his people. In things wherein men serve themselves,

and look no further, God makes them do all his pleasure. And a

nobler Shepherd than Cyrus does his Father's will, till his work

is fully completed.

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